1895 Renmark, Maggie O'Rourke has always been strong willed, she's not keen on settling down, living in a hut with a dirt floor, cooking on a open fire and having babies. She's very attracted to her brothers best friend Sam Taylor, she can't cope with the temptation he presents and she leaves home. Maggie finds work as a maid at fine house called Olivewood and the house is built very close to river Murray. The whole area is dependent on the mighty Murray river, it provides vital water for people, animals, the area grows stone fruit, both people and produce are all transported by boat down the river. The river Murray, snakes it's way through South Australia, it has areas of high cliffs, flat sandy banks, other areas have some vegetation, small hardy trees called scrub and it's about the only thing that grows in the dry red dirt.
Maggie is forced to defend herself and her friend Nara from being assaulted by the nasty Robert Boyd, she flees in a panic and travels down the river on a paddle steamer called the Lady Goodnight. The captain is concerned about the steam engine, he leaves her on the river bank while he checks it, the engine blows up and she's now stuck all alone on the side of the river? Maggie is very lucky, her friend Nara and her husband Wadgie had been following her in their canoe, they take her to a little settlement called Pyap and Maggie is now deaf as a post. The explosion has damaged her ears, it's not seemly for single women to travel on their own, the residents of Pyap want her to leave and how will she get home?
Maggie's parents have been worried sick about her, when her father Lorcan has an accident her mum Eleanor decides she's had enough and she wants her daughter to come home. The only person available to find her and bring her home is of course Sam Taylor.
Sam has had enough of chasing Maggie, he's been sending her letters, all have been returned unopened and he has decided it's time to move on. After he finds Maggie, he plans to start his own business breeding strong sturdy horses called Walers and his horse Pie will be his stud. Nothing ever goes as planned, he's very concerned when he's discovers the paddle steamer has blown up, he's told it had a woman aboard and could it be Maggie?
During her mad dash to get away from Robert Boyd, Maggie finally accepts she misses her family, she's ready to go home, has she run out of chances with Sam, will he forgive her for being scared and understand why she left? Life was hard in south Australia for the early settlers, especially women, Maggie panicked and she regrets leaving home. I enjoyed reading The Good Woman Of Renmark and I gave it four stars.